Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. DC owns all rights. This is just a fun writing exercise.


Chapter Two: Under the Shadow of Magic

Gotham City - Friday- 11:25 p.m. - Gotham River - The River Bank

A dark haired man in his mid twenties stood by the river. He wore jeans and a t-shirt. He looked average until one noticed his eyes and the two tattoo-like scars that started above his right brow and went down past his right eye. His eyes were purple. This man was Garth also know as Tempest. He was a sorcerer with the power to manipulate water. He was an Alantian and as such had the ability to breath underwater as easily as he did on land.

Garth was stumbling as he walked. A half empty whiskey bottle was in his right hand. The Dixon Docks were nearby. Garth was headed in that direction. There were warehouses near too. In the vicinity of the warehouses, three men were trying to break into a car. They had crow bars in their hands.

Garth passed by them. He slurred his words as he spoke. "Yoouu shouldn't be dooing thaat," he said.

"You going to stop us?" one of the thieves said tauntingly.

"I-I miigghht," Garth said, "Youuu doonn'tt wannna messs wwith me!"

"Yeah right," the first thief said.

"Get him!" another thief shouted. Two of the three men chased Garth.

Garth ran to stand in front in of the river. There was a grin on his face like he thought he was being very clever. "Yoouu shoulda listened." He gestured at the river with his left hand. Water from the river rose up. It took on a shape. It was an oriental style dragon made of water.

The two crooks ran back toward the other. The apparent leader scratched at his head. "What the heck is that, man?" the leader asked.

A unsual looking black car came down the road. "Cripes!" the leader of the thieves yelled, "That Batman's car. Let's get out of here!" The crooks took off running.

The batmobile pulled up by the car the theives had been trying to break into. The driver's door of the batmobile opened and Batman stepped out. He moved toward the river and Garth. "Tempest?" he asked.

"Hi ya Bats!" Garth said, "Whatcha dooing herree?"

"This is my city," Batman said, "A better question would be, what are you doing here?" Batman tilted his head looking up at the dragon made of murky water. "What is that thing?"

Garth shrugged. "Waatter. Jusstt wwateerr. Anndd a little magggic." With his right hand Garth lifted the whiskey bottle to his lips. He raised his left high. "Yoouu wanannt me tttoo gettt riidd of it?" Garth thrust his left arm back down to his side. The dragon moved quickly toward Garth and Batman. The dragon turned back into normal dirty river water. The water soaked both men.

Garth looked sheepish. "Thaat wasssn't suuppossed to hhappeenn!"

Batman scowled. "You're drunk."

Garth smiled "Yeesss I am!"

"What are you doing in my city?" Batman asked. Garth opened his mouth to answer. He didn't speak. Instead his eyes rolled into the back of his head. He passed out at Batman's feet. The whiskey broke as it hit the ground drenching the dark knight's boots in alcohol. Up in the sky the bat signal appeared.

Bludhaven - Saturday- 12:04 a.m.

On a roof top Nightwing stood looking down at an empty street. Slow night, he thought.

"It is dull isn't it?" a voice asked causing Nightwing to jump. Nightwing spun around. Standing before him was a man in Victorian era clothing carrying a cane. There were odd wisps of something like shadows moving around the man.

"Who are you?" Nightwing asked.

"As if you didn't know," the man said with contempt.

Nighwing was bewildered. "Have we met?"

The man nodded. "I would say so, Nightwing. Or should I say Dick Grayson?"

"What!" Nightwing shouted. He knows my name! he thought, Who is he? What else does he know?

"You act as if you're surprised," the man said, "For me this is the fourth time we have met. I would guess from the way you're acting this is the first time you have encountered me."

"I don't who you are, mister!" Nightwing yelled, "I've never met you before! Unless…" Nightwing's face suddenly took on a pained look. He calmed down a bit. "Unless this has something to do with time travel. "

"How very observant." The man adjusted his top hat. His voice held a layer of sarcasm. "Truly it must be said that the Batman trains his apprentices very well. A shame he does not train them better."

"Just get to the point," Nightwing said.

The guy in the Victorian clothes was clearly irritated. "You have entirely too little patience."

Nightwing drew his escrima sticks. The man in the Victorian shook his head. "Is violence all you can think of Richard? I'm not here to fight."

"Then what are you in doing here?" Nightwing asked.

"I am merely here to observe," the man said, "When one has lived as long as I have, one looks for ways to amuse one's self. The magic rising in Bludhaven is rather intriguing. This city has never been known for its magical energy. It's sister city Gotham has always surpassed it. That it seems is changing. Of course I cannot be sure. All my information is second hand and it has been a while since I was informed. I may have forgotten something."

Nightwing glared at the man. "Who told you this?"

The man in the Victorian clothes laughed. "Why you did, Richard. You and your team."

"What team? I haven't got a team!" Nightwing yelled.

"Oh, you will. You will." The man raised his cane high. "See you again one hundred years ago!" Shadows surrounded the man like smoke, making it impossible for Nightwing him. When the shadows faded away, the man was gone.

One hundred years…shadows powers, Nightwing thought. His eyes widened. "That was the Shade!"

Star City - 9:11 p.m.

In a cheap motel Roy Harper and his girlfriend were lying next to each other in a bed. The girlfriend was a beautiful woman with long purple hair. "Sarah," Roy said, "I think anyone who doesn't love you is crazy."

"I love you too," she said. But there's something, she thought, that you don't know about me. My name isn't Sarah. It's Ceres. If you betray me lover boy, you'll regret it!

Gotham City - 12:17 a.m.

The batmobile was parked near a school building on fire. The flames lit up the night sky. Flying through the air with the aid of a jetpack was the pyromaniac known as Firefly. "I'm going to burn down every place and everything that is bad!" Firefly bragged.

"Who decides that, Garfield?" Batman asked.

"I do!" Firefly shouted.

Inside the batmoible in the passenger seat, Garth was waking up. He looked around in confusion. He looked out the window. He saw Firefly. The pyromaniac was aim his flamethrowers at Batman. Batman's boots caught on fire. The flames were small but the boots were definitely on fire.

Garth flung open the car door hard enough that the door came off of the car. He got out quickly. He moved fast but awkwardly. He reached a fire hydrant. He punched the hydrant once. The hydrant imeaidly broke. Water poured out going straight up in the air. Garth gestured with his hands. The water moved sideways. It began to move slowly toward the burning shoes.

Batman shouted out "NO!" With remarkable speed Batman kicked off his boots. The water from the hydrant hit the shoes causing them to burst into much greater flames. Batman jumped back a few feet. He was now standing barefoot.

Firefly laughed. He flew close to Garth. "That was neat!" Firefly yelled. Firefly was about twenty feet up in the air above Garth.

"Yoouu aaiin'tt seen nothin!" Garth said.

"No, Garth," Batman said, "Don't do anything."

"Rroy's right. You nnnoo fuunn!" Garth focused the water so that it went high in the air. Firefly barely dodged the water. The pyromaniac wove a pattern through the air flying, trying to avoid the water. The water was moving with every gesture Garth made with his hands. The water was moving almost as if it had a life of its own.

"You're mad! You're crazy!" Firefly yelled, "Stop that! You trying to kill me or something?"

"Laannd annnd I quit," Garth said.

Firefly landed on the ground. The moment he did water surrounded him from ankle to neck. The water became solid, turning into ice. He was bound by ice. "No fair! You lied! You cheated!"

Garth smirked. "I didn't saayy wheenn I'd quitt!" Garth fell backwards, passing out again. There was a trace of blood coming out of his nose.

The Batcave - 7:32 a.m.

Garth woke up disoriented. He was in a shallow tank of water. He was just barley submerged. He was completely undressed. He sat up and looked around at the cave he found himself in. "Where am I?" He rose to get out of the water.

Someone came into Garth's line of sight but his vision was blurred. He couldn't tell who it was. Garth clutched at his head. He sank back into the tank, sitting this time instead of laying. "Oh my aching head!"

Garth's vision cleared. The man standing in front of him was Batman. Batman's cowl was down showing clearly the face of Bruce Wayne. He was scowling fiercely.

"Batman? Bruce?" Garth said nervously, "Um, Mr. Wayne." What is this? Garth thought, he glares and I feel like I'm the spooked kid I was the first time I met him! Even without the mask, he's scary!

A balding middle aged man came up behind the dark knight. He was holding a towel and what looked like Garth's clothes. "Master Bruce," he said in a British accent, "I must insist that you get off your feet at once!"

"In a minute Alfred," Bruce said.

"You've been saying that for the past two hours, sir," Alfred said.

Garth looked down at Bruce's feet. Bruce's feet were covered in bandages. "What happened?" Garth asked.

Bruce glared at Garth. "You know what happened."

"But I don't." Garth looked up at Bruce in confusion. "How did I get here? I don't remember anything past yesterday afternoon!"

"I don't believe you," Bruce said. There was almost a growl to his voice. "Try to think back."

Garth did so. I went into a liqueur store with the intent of getting something strong… I wanted to get drunk. I wanted to forget my problems for awhile. I think I succeeded in doing that but then what?…Oh no!

Garth became visibly distressed and embarrassed. He covered his face with his hands. "I think I remember now. It's kind of blurry. I…I broke the door off the batmobile, Didn't I?"

"You did more than that," Bruce said, "You broke a fire hydrant. That's just the start. What I'd like to know is how you did some of the things you did."

Garth shrugged. He smiled in an embarrassed way. "I'm strong. I don't normally rely on that but being able to lift eight tons isn't nothing. Lower scale super human strength is still super strength."

"That's not what I meant," Bruce said, "It's what you did to a villain who calls himself Firefly."

A look of concentration came upon Garth's face then a look of shock. "Yeah, I remember now. But I don't know how I did it. That should have been impossible."

"Obviously not," Bruce said.

"Master Bruce," Alfred said, "Allow the gentleman to get dressed before you begin questioning him." Alfred moved forward closer to Garth. "I took the liberty of washing your clothes, Master Garth. The smells of the Gotham River are not dissimilar to that of a sewer. It was most off putting." Alfred turned his head to look back at Bruce. "And I must say sir, that you do not smell like a rose either."

Garth stared in shock as Bruce smiled. "Is that your way of telling me I should get out of these clothes, old friend?"

"Most assuredly, Master Bruce," Alfred said, "You should have gotten out of that suit several hours ago." Alfred placed the towel and Garth's clothes on a small table with grabbing distance of the tank.

"Thanks," Garth said, as the butler walked away.

A few minutes later Garth was fully dressed. Bruce was wearing a bathrobe and pajamas. They were in another section of the bat cave, the area where the central computer was. Garth was standing. Bruce was sitting in a chair with his back to the keyboard, the large computer screen behind him.

Garth was looking bewildered. "I'm telling you I really don't know how I did," he said, "What you don't seem to understand is that magic requires concentration. I was drunk. There's no way even sober that I could do what I did. At least not that easily. Magic also takes practice if you're going to do any with finesse. Before last I never tried anything like that. I don't even know where I got the idea for the dragon. I've never done anything like that before."

Bruce stood up. "I want you out of Gotham City."

Garth glared at Bruce. "You don't own the city. This is a free county!"

"You're not a citizen of this country. You're not exactly obeying its laws." Bruce held up a wallet. The wallet was open showing a photo id. "Interesting choice for a surname. It reads "Garth Curry." It says that you're thirty. This is not even a good fake ID."

Garth snatched the wallet. "Like dressing up as a bat and being a vigilante is legal! It's not!" Garth shouted, "Roy and Ollie were both right. You are such a hypocrite. You wanted me, Wally, Roy and Donna in the city back when we were starting the Teen Titans. You even gave us a clubhouse, the Titan's Lair! Oh, right, that was all so you keep an eye on Dick! You didn't trust anyone then and you don't now!"

"I don't want a meta human with uncontrolled powers loose in my city," Bruce said, "That invites unwanted trouble."

"Like I said," Garth muttered loudly, "You don't trust anyone. Micromanaging everything…too many contingency plans, which almost killed the league once…you order and you boss. Do as I say and all that…not even a king."

Garth raised his voice. "This whole setup you got going, it's like a house of cards. Sooner or later it's going to come crashing down on you! Just like Arthur's kingdom crashed in on him! You two are very different but you do have one thing in common. You both have potentially fatal flaws! You just haven't had to really confront yours yet! I just hope when things go bad that you don't drag Dick down with you!"

"Get out!" Batman yelled.

Garth rolled his eyes. "No problems there!" He walked toward the nearby stairs. He turned back for a moment to look at Bruce. "Just so you know, Wally Dick, Roy, Donna and I, we weren't were really kids back then. We weren't from the first time we faced those dangerous situations. You kept treating us like kids. You did that more with Dick as he got older. You pushed him away doing that. You even stole his name! Robin was his, a nickname given by his mother! You had no right to pass the name on to someone else like it was part of your legacy! The miracle in all this is that he came back to you!"

Garth shook his head. "Sometimes I don't know what Dick sees in you and frankly I don't care." Garth turned his back on Bruce. He made his way up the stairs. When he reached the door to the manor he went through it then slammed it hard. The door went partially off its hinges. The old grandfather clock swung back covering the door but one could now tell that the door was there.

Down in the bat cave Bruce Wayne sat. His face was filled with a fury that slowly gave way to contemplation. His eyes took on a distant look as if he was seeing something not in the cave. There was increasingly, as the minutes ticked on, a sort of sadness to his face. He sat there for sometime lost in the memories of the past.

Bludhaven - the hallway outside Dick Grayson's apartment - 3:33 p.m.

Dick Grayson walked through the hallway. He was dressed in his police uniform. First that boring patrol as Nightwing, he thought, well, boring until the Shade showed up. Then an extremely busy day as a cop! A hostage situation that called in even the off duty cops like I was supposed to be. I'm beat. It's only the afternoon but I want to crawl in bed. Dick yawned. I feel like I want to sleep for a week!

Dick pulled out his keys. He stopped at his door. There were scratch marks on the doorway. Those weren't there this morning. Something's not right. Dick unlocked the door. He moved cautiously inside. There was a suitcase on the floor just inside the doorway. In the middle of the living room floor there was an extremely large old fashioned bathtub. It stood on four legs. The tub looked like it could hold two or three people easily. The living room was not large. The tub took up a huge chunk of the space. The furniture was all pushed aside or pushed up against the walls. Dick looked around increasing alarm.

There was a sudden sound coming from the bathroom. Someone was singing. Dick drew his gun. He moved toward the bathroom. He was soon standing in front of the bathroom door with the gun held in both hands. He could hear water being run in the shower and the sink. The door opened. The person on the other side of the door flung up his hands. Water from the still running faucets moved in seconds to block the door. The water went solid. In a instant a thick impossible to see through wall of ice covered the doorway.

"Dick?" a voice said from the other side of the ice wall.

I know that voice! Dick thought. "Garth?"

"Yes," Garth said.

"What are you doing here?" Dick asked.

"Funny you should say that," Garth said, "Batman asked me pretty much the same the thing when I was in Gotham City last night. I may have made him mad. Okay, I made him really angry. I tried call you from Wayne Manor but I couldn't get a response."

Dick's brows went up. "What? You were in Gotham City last night? Wait a second, you angered Bruce? How?" Garth sighed. "First, let me see if I can rid of this ice."

"What do mean if you can?" Dick said, "You put it up didn't you?"

"I seem," Garth said, "to be discovering new aspects of my powers. Batman tried to use that as his excuse to kick me out of his city. Something about 'uncontrolled powers." The ice faded away into mist. The entire area became flooded in fog.

"Whoa," Dick said. The fog…it's so thick I can't see my hand in my front of my face! "How did you do that? Never mind! Get rid of it , now!"

The fog turned into water. The floor was quickly soaked. "Uh, opps?" Garth looked surprised and embarrassed.

Dick stared at Garth. Of all the original titans, Dick thought, he was the one was least close to. I went the past five months without seeing him…without even thinking about him… unless I saw a photo of him.. Then two weeks ago, that horrible road trip…I talked to him maybe three minutes…now today he shows up…what's going on?

Half an hour later, Dick and Garth were sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee. "…and," Garth said, "I got in a bit of a screaming

Dick made a gesture for Garth to follow him. Less than a minute later, Dick were standing beside the antique looking bathtub pointing at it. "Would you mind explaining this?"

"I needed a place to sleep?" Garth said.

Dick crossed his arms. "Uh uh. That doesn't seem very comfortable for you."

Garth smiled slightly. "Um, it's not, not really. It'll do though for now."

"I don't mean to mean or anything," Dick said, "but you can't stay here long. It'll attract too much attention. You're not exactly low profile. You don't wear a mask. Your face is on the cover of a lot of those old Teen Titans fan magazines and books. The last thing I need is for someone to recognize you and start wondering why Dick Grayson has a super hero hanging around his place. The people I work with on the force don't even know I'm Bruce Wayne's adopted son. You really can't stay here."

Sadness filled Garth's face. "I don't know where to go," he said, "My wife- She- Dolphin kicked me out of our home. She didn't believe me about Starro. You'd think with all the weirdness we deal with, she would. Our country is being ruled by a dictatorship and Arthur refuses to do anything. He's the only who could do anything. I couldn't stay in Atlantis but-but there's no Titans team to return to." Garth titled his head down. "I don't know what I'm doing."

The floor plan of the apartment was open. It was a short walk of a few steps from the living room to the kitchen. Dick pulled a coffee tin out of a cupboard. He looked at the kitchen table and chairs. Then he looked at Garth who was still standing in the living room. Dick smiled warmly at him. "Come on. Sit down. We'll try to figure a few things out. You are going anywhere without at least telling me what happened in Gotham first!"

A few minutes later Dick and Garth were sitting at the kitchen table with mugs filled with coffee on the in table in front of them. "…and then," Garth said, "She told me I couldn't even see our son. It's not like the surface world where you can sue for custody. My homeland, the rules, the laws right now…It's madness! After all that I kind lost of mind a bit. It was mostly by accident that I wound up in Gotham City. My mind wasn't exactly clear. I sensed the magic and followed it."

"Hold on a minute," Dick said, "the magic?" Garth nodded. "I sensed a high level of mystical energy. I thought it was coming from Gotham. Gotham City has a history of strong magic. The land the city is on has a history related to the mystical arts going back thousands of years. But it wasn't Gotham. The magic was coming from somewhere else. I decided I didn't care to follow it. At this point my mind was a bit straighter. I have some money in savings here on the surface world. I drew some of it out. I got a fancy room in a hotel near Gotham Heights, mainly for the large Jacuzzi bathtub. And spent a few days in the city with Batman none the wiser. Then yesterday afternoon I started feeling sorry for myself a lot. I threw myself quite the pity party. I got drunk."

"What?" Dick's jaw dropped. "You? Drunk?" "I know," Garth said, "Who'd thought that nice old me would do that. Anyways, it was sometime after getting drunk that I came face to face with Batman. If you want the full story about happened last night you'll have to ask him. I don't remember it that well. That whole evening is in my mind, a fuzzy embarrassing mess. Anything Bats doesn't know, I'm not telling. I passed out at one point. The next thing I knew I was in the Batcave. Bats is it in a word: scary."

Dick grinned. "Really?" "Yes, really!" Garth gave Dick a mock glare. "Don't laugh at me. Don't make fun. Batman can be spooky even without the cowl. When he's not doing that playboy act he can be very intimidating."

"So," Dick said, still grinning, "What happened next?"

"Batman tried to interrogate me," Garth said, "and then…I'm afraid I got in a bit of a yelling match with him…"

Star City- The Star City Rockets Stadium - 12:59 p.m.

Roy Harper and his purple haired girlfriend were sitting in the stands. She turned her head to glare at Roy. "I don't why I agreed to this. This sort of event is not what I consider pleasurable." "How can you not like this?" Roy asked, "This is the best game the rockets have played in a while!"

Roy's girlfriend crossed her arms. "Please go get me another soda."

Roy raised a brow. "Now?"

His girlfriend glared. "Yes, now!"

A minute later Roy was standing in front of a concession stand paying for the asked for soda. The cashier was about to hand the drink to Roy. A stunning blond haired woman walked up to him. "Roy Harper! It's so been so long!"

Roy looked at her confusedly. "Do I know you?"

The woman laughed. She moved closer to him. She kissed him.

"Hey!" Roy shouted, pushing her away, "I enjoy that as much as the next man but I can't! I'm with someone!"

The woman tried to him kiss again. Roy tried to fight her off. It was at this moment that his girlfriend showed up.

Roy looked at his girlfriend nervously. "Um, hi Sarah! I- I can explain."

His girlfriend glared at him with great intensity. Her purple hair seemed to defy gravity. "You are mine for however I want you. Until I loose interest or you grow old no other woman shall have you!" She pointed at the blond. The other woman instantly turned into a pig.

Roy stared in shock.

Bludhaven- Dick Grayson's apartment- 4:07 p.m.

Dick was no longer sitting at the kitchen table. He was standing. He was yelling at Garth. "You had no right to say those things to him! You don't understand what Bruce has been through. You weren't there during the events after the Gotham earthquake! You weren't around during No Man's land. You weren't around! You didn't see him after he was charged with murder then broke out! You don't know Bruce at all. You have no right to judge him!"

Dick slapped his hands on to the kitchen table. He leaned forward toward Garth. He scowled at Garth. "You don't insult Batman. You don't disrespect him. He's faced his inner demons. He's dealt with his problems. He's not perfect but no one is. He's Gotham City's greatest protector. He's Batman. Without him there wouldn't even be a Gotham City today. If you believe half the things that you've been saying about him then you don't understand the first thing about him."

"Maybe not," Garth said as he stood up. Garth's brows arched with anger. "Maybe I don't even understand you. I'm not staying here. Don't worry about me! I'm leaving. I'm not staying where I'm clearly not wanted. " Garth moved across the kitchen into the living room. He moved past the atige bathtub. He walked to the door to leave. He picked up his suitcase. He turned back around to look at Dick.

There was a mean look to Garth's face as he smirked. "Oh and you can keep the tub! I don't really need it. Good luck getting it out of here!" Garth opened the door and left. The door was slammed as he left.

Star City- The front door of Oliver Queen's House - 2:16 p.m.

Roy Harper stood in front of the door with his daughter Lian in his arms. There were suitcases around him on the ground. He rung the door bell. He smiled at his daughter. "You're going to stay with Grandpa Ollie for a while."

Oliver Queen was Roy's legal guardian at one point. Though they didn't always get along he was the closest thing Roy had to a father. It was Oliver who opened the door. He was a blond haired man with a distinctive beard. He stared down at the suitcases. "Planning on a long term visit?" he asked dryly.

"Not exactly," Roy said, "I know it's short notice but could you look after Lian for a while? It's kind of an emergency." "Why?" Oliver asked, "What happened?"

"I ticked off the wrong woman," Roy said.

Oliver raised a brow. "Who?"

"Ceres," Roy said.

Oliver raised both brows. "The sorceress? The one from Homer's Odyssey?" "Yes." Roy looked annoyed.

Oliver scratched at his beard and then at his head. "Isn't she one of Wonder Woman's foes? How in the heck did you manage to get her mad at you?"

Roy looked at his daughter. "Let's just say that certain that things shouldn't said in front of little ears."

Oliver's eyes widened. "Oh!"

Bludhaven - 9:42 p.m. - a commercial neighborhood

Garth walked down a sidewalk carrying his suitcase. The street around him was lined with closed stores and businesses. He kicked at a pebble on the sidewalk. "Stupid Batman. Stupid Dick," he muttered, "I don't need anyone. I don't!" He sighed. "But I do. Now what?"

There was a puddle of water on the street near the sidewalk. Garth sat down on the curve of the sidewalk. He waved a hand and the water swirled. He made shapes out of the water. A small watery model of the second Titan's Tower rose up then fell back into a puddle.

There was a thumping thundering sound. Great, Garth thought, It's about to rain! Garth sniffed at the air. Eww! Something smells bad! All dead and decayed!

A slow dumb sounding voice spoke. "Fancy waterman go night night!"

Garth looked up tilting his head back. Above him and behind him was a large white form in ragged clothes. Garth was looking up at the face of the zombie Solomon Grundy. Not rain! Garth thought. Solomon Grundy's fist hit the back of Garth's head sending him into unconsciousness.

"Waterman sleeps," Grundy said, "Good waterman." He picked Garth and draped over one of his shoulders. The zombie then went walking on down the street.

Dick Grayson's apartment- 9:50 p.m.

Dick was sitting slouched at a computer. An article on the history of the Shade was on the computer screen. A police radio was blaring in the room. The radio was not necessarily legally obtained. It was useful not for Dick's work as cop but for his nightly activities as Nightwing.

"Suspect," a voice on the radio said, "Uh, you're not going to believe this. Suspect is a large pasty white figure. Suspect appears to be a zombie. I repeat, a zombie…. Um, the suspect smashed a patrol car."

Another voice came on. "That's a zombie alright. That's not just any zombie. Don't you watch the cable news? That's Solomon Grundy! He's fought Superman! That guy he's carrying… He's older but I think that's Aqualad! My kid sister had posters of him."

Garth? Dick thought, He sat up straighter.

Five minutes Dick was dressed in his Nightwing costume. He was swinging from line down to the street where Solomon Grundy was. Solomon Grundy was moving very slowly down a street. There were police cars around him. The police officers had their guns out pointed at him but no one was firing because Grundy was carrying someone across his shoulder. One police car parked to the side was completely busted up and barely recognizable as a car.

Nightwing swung past Grundy. He grabbed a hold of Garth as he did. Nightwing landed off with Garth in his arms. They fell to the ground. Garth's eyes were still shut.

Grundy moving toward and picked up Garth.

"Let go of him!" Nightwing yelled.

"Maskman, doesn't boss me," Grundy said.

"Maskman? Are you kidding me?" Nightwing asked "Of all the things you could call me you chose that?" Nightwing become more serious. "I'll ask you one last time, this time nicely. Please let go of that man."

"Grundy not letting go of Waterman," Grundy said, "Grundy likes watching Waterman do his fancy magic. Grundy liked the alphabet letter he made with the water. Grundy wanted to see more."

"So you knocked him out?" Nightwing asked, "Where's the sense in that?"

"Grundy wanted to see magic worked on bigger water than puddle," Grundy said, "Waterman would never go anywhere with Grundy if awake. So Grundy make him sleep."

"You should have just asked him," Nightwing said, "Manners will someone much further than rudness, even if that person is a zombie."

"Maskman is crazy!" Grundy shouted, "Grundy not listening to stupid Maskman anymore!" Grundy started to walk away.

Nightwing rose up to his feet. He punched Grundy in the face. Grundy swatted at his hand. With only one hand Grundy pushed Nightwing to the pavement. Grundy moved on down the street with Garth draped over his shoulder again.

Hitting him was like hitting a brick! Nightwing thought, I've got to change tactics. I've got to do something else.

One of the cops standing near by had a taser. Nightwing stood up quickly. He stepped close to the cop. He pointed at the taser. "Do you mind if I take that?"

The cop was near frozen with fear at the sight of Grundy who was incredibly close by. The cop nodded ever so slightly. "Go ahead."

Nightwing moved at Grundy with the taser. He pressed the taser against Grundy's back.

"That stings! That hurts!" Grundy yelled. He turned around then knocked the taser out of Nightwing's hands. "Maskman and Waterman too much trouble. Maskman wants Waterman, he can have him!" Grundy lifted Garth off his shoulder. He lifted Nightwing off the ground. He threw both of them together. Garth and Nightwing went flying through the air. They went crashing through a glass window onto the floor of a darkened hardware store.

The police officers immediately fired on the zombie. The bullets did nothing but put holes in his clothes. Grundy still stood. "Grundy doesn't want to deal with blue men!" Grundy shouted. He walked straight toward the hardware store.

Nightwing shook Garth. It was no use. Garth wouldn't wake up. "Come on!" Nightwing yelled, "We got to get out of here!" He's coming right at us, Nightwing thought, this guy can fight Superman… yet Batman managed to take him down more than once…Heck, Green Arrow did without his bow! Green Arrow…

Nightwing looked around the store. He grabbed Garth and carried toward an aisle. He let go of Garth and started looking at the shelves. Solomon Grundy walked through the store window. Grundy soon moved down a different aisle.

Less than a minute later Nightwing ran at Grundy's back. Nightwing had copper coils in his hands. He wrapped the coils around Grundy's throat. He pulled with all his might. Grundy fell to the floor. Grundy's eyes were shut. He was out cold.

A minute after this Nightwing was standing over Garth. Garth was sitting on the floor rubbing at his head. "Grundy?" Garth asked, "What happened to Grundy?"

"I knocked him out with wire," Nightwing answered, leaning against a store shelf.

Garth looked up at Nightwing with a skeptical look. "You knocked him out?"

"Don't look so surprised," Nightwing said. He grinned. "Green Arrow did with it bow strings. It's the same principle. It's where I got the idea. Roy was bragging about it during that awful road trip last week. Now come on. Let's get out of here." Nightwing held out a hand offering to help Garth up. Garth accepted and was pulled to his feet.

The moon - The Watchtower- Less Than a Hour Later

Roy Harper was dressed as Arsenal in the red and orange costume with the arrow on the front. He stood in an observatory room looking out at the moon and up at the Earth. It's a good thing Ollie has connections with the Justice League, he thought, It's a great thing that I got temporary permission to use the Justice League's teleporters. What a view!

"It is quite stunning," the Martian Manhunter said as he floated into the room through a wall.

"It's breathtaking," Arsenal said, "I just had to see it this way again. And don't worry, I'm not staying up here. I'm just passing through. I got a friend in Bludhaven who I think I'll go pester."


NEXT TIME: CHAPTER THREE: THE HIDDEN AGENDA!